It may surprise some of you (especially those of you who are friends on Facebook) to know that technically I am not yet divorced. My ex moved out well over two years ago, but we didn't actually begin divorce proceedings until August of this year. I don't know why we waited so long, but when I look back at the patterns in my life I note a definite tendency to postpone the inevitable, so I guess I'm just being true to form. I will rip off a bandaid, jump into cold water, endure the artist's needle, but I will not lend myself readily to painful emotional change.
The not-quite-yet-divorced status should, if all goes as expected, change tomorrow. The final paperwork has been signed by my ex, his attorney, my attorney, and myself. The hearing is scheduled for 8:30 AM (which really means all the lawyers will be in court at 8:30 AM, there will be check-ins for those doing status conferences and eventually the lawyers who have motions to be signed will line up for their turn, then the status conferences will take place and THEN motions that need to be heard will be considered and hopefully they get done sometime before armageddon. I suspect this is why attorneys charge so much money, its recompense for the stab-yourself-in-the-eye boredom they go through in court every week).
The final death throes of the marriage took place over a number of years for a number of reasons. Tomorrow will be the final, gasping breath of the brontosaurus shuddering on the carpet of the rainforest floor.
I don't know if I ever really believed that marriage was forever. I know that I hoped it was. I don't think there are many people that enter into a relationship commitment planning for its eventual demise, though we all have to realize that its a possibility.
I am looking forward to settling into a different phase of my relationship with my ex. I think that now that we are no longer debating over exactly how to split hairs and then assign ownerhip to halves of hairs that the bulk of the discomfort will be over. Worrying about what would happen and who would get what if we didn't agree was a soul-consuming experience. As much as I am trying to learn to lean back and worry more about the ride than the destination, I'm still human and still reacting to my fear more than I would like. I've struggled with anger and hurt and jealousy. I've had to learn how to walk away without voicing upsets or concerns that aren't capable of being resolved. I've learned to let my feelings be felt with the explicit understanding that there isn't a happy-ever-after, there's no reward or prize or mountain summit, just a continuation of life that will undoubtedly serve up fresh suffering after some time passes.
Falling in love and beginning a new relationship didn't really alleviate those feelings. It just allowed me to ignore them for longer periods of time. Ultimately, though, I've got to acknowledge them and allow them to work their way through. If I don't, they'll just keep causing me pain and there's no reason at all to let that linger longer than it needs to.
After tomorrow, my ex and I will no longer be husband and wife. We'll be coparents. We'll be once-lovers. People who walked a path together, side by side for a time, and who will continue to parallel one another to a small extent because of our mutual ties to our progeny.
As our children become adults, I hope that they will be able to comprehend that relationships are complicated and fragile. I hope that they can understand - and more importantly believe - that a divorce was never something we envisioned for our family until we actually reached the point where it happened.
I hope they will learn that when you're an adult living in a world you are coping with your past and your present in ways that often do not make sense. That unless you give your relationship the time and energy - and compassion - that it requires, it will not thrive. That once you stop communicating you begin sliding down a hill that only grows steeper the farther down it you travel.
I hope that they will be able to recognize that in the end we both made some hard choices in order to preserve our sanity, healthy, and dignity, and more than anything, I hope that they will forgive us for the impact those choices had on them.
I hope very much that they will be able to see their parent's divorce not as an altogether negative experience. Divorce is painful, but at the same time, my failed marriage gave me a gift. Through it I found impetus for growth and change, seeking new ways of interacting with others, with myself, with the world I inhabit.
The impermanence of things in life offer us gifts. Tomorrow marks the end of one thing, but offers a new threshold to cross.